One of the first things you learn when exploring the waters of domestic open adoption is that no two situations are ever the same. You also learn that the relationship that develops is fluid, rather than static, and that its course of development is really up to the people involved. In reality, it's like any human relationship in that the people involved navigate its course. This really shouldn't be surprising, but in a way it is. I guess it's a surprise since not too many relationships are based upon legal agreements for future contacts.
As I've mentioned before, we don't have (and haven't had) any contact with Andrew's birthfather. I find that I rarely, if ever, even think of him. We have photos, but they are put away and not part of our albums. There is no relationship here, and I doubt there ever will be.
Our relationship with Andrew's birthmom, A, is quite different. Our contact hasn't followed our legal agreements, but that is because of her choices and circumstances. The three of us met with her in December 2008, but for the following year we had no direct contact. I'd send photos and notes monthly, per our agreement, and I would hear updates from our social worker, but we had no personal contact.
This past December I got a message from our social worker that A would like to chat sometime. I called her and we had a great conversation catching up and left the door open for future contact. Since then I've been concerned about some of her situations, but really there isn't much I can do. I don't feel it's proper for me to call and check up on her, so I wait to hear from her.
Yesterday I wanted to mail something to A, so I texted her asking for her address, having a hunch it may have changed. She immediately sent it to me, but also mentioned that things had been really hard for her. Last night she called and we talked for quite a while.
This is just all so weird. I mean, I'm glad we talk, and I'm honestly concerned about how she is and how she is getting along. But, even though we don't know each other super, super well, there is without a doubt a bond between us that seems to defy logic. Even though we have a legal contact agreement it's essentially worthless in that it is completely meaningless in defining our relationship.
And maybe that's it . . . I guess I thought that our relationship would be nice and neat and defined by this legal document. In reality, the relationship is defined by A and me at this point. And like most relationships in life, it continually changes and grows with time and according to the needs of the people involved.
I can't say where things will go and how they will change and develop over time, but I do need to be open to the possibilities and follow my heart. After all, Andrew is the bond that joins us. And for him this relationship is treasured.